Joseph Fuselier

What problem is your work helping to solve?

When you take a drug, how does it know where to go? For example, if you have joint pain, should the drug you take distribute itself equally throughout the body, or should it concentrate into the inflamed joint? The problem with most drugs is that they are not targeted to the tissue of interest. 

What solution are your working toward and why is it innovative?

My work addresses this problem by taking exquisitely potent, well-known drugs and modifying their chemistry so they can be attached to a protein in a very specific way. The protein portion of the combination molecule acts as a UPS driver and delivers a potent pharmaceutical package to the tissue of interest. The “package” may contain a variety of therapeutic warheads depending on what disease is causing the inflammation or maybe what provides the most benefit to the patient.

This work is innovative for a variety of reasons. First, no one has published or patented anything like what we are doing. Second, the idea utilizes well known “packages” and well known proteins, and combines them in a way that together work synergistically to treat some of the greatest unmet medical needs in society. 

What applications does your research have for Tulane entrepreneurs and the broader business community?

Ultimately providing patients and clinicians with targeted therapeutics to reduce side effects and increase efficacy in a variety of disease indications involving inflammation. Because we operate on the discovery side of drug design and development, intellectual property is key and provides the vehicle to commercialize these important discoveries. Tulane’s intellectual property is of great value for entrepreneurs and offers enormous opportunity to the broader business community.